A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
Episodes Search Site Map The Series Partners White Pine White Pine Home

SONS AND DAUGHTERS: The Italians of Schreiber

For Teachers


Metà degli abitanti di Schreiber, in Ontario, è originaria della città di Siderno in Calabria e i discendenti di quel villaggio italiano mantengono forti legami qui in Canada. Ad essi é dedicato il film di Patricia Fogliato e David Mortin, un tributo alla durevolezza dei legami di parentela e comunitá.

Half the community of Schreiber, Ontario originated in the town of Siderno, in Calabria, Italy. The descendants of that Italian village remain fiercely connected here in Canada, and are the subjects of Patricia Fogliato and David Mortin's filmic tribute to the enduring ties of family and community.

In 1905, Cosimo Figliomeni started work on the Canadian Pacific Railway, north of Lake Superior. His good fortune and letters home lured many of his villagers to jobs in Schreiber. Cosimo is the grandfather and great-grandfather of practically all the Italians living in this community today, and the link between the Figliomeni and Speziale clans.

It is this shared history that accounts for the strong sense of community in Schreiber and explains why the Italian families are especially close-knit (not to mention the confusing fact that so many of them carry the same name). There remains an abiding affection toward their ancestors, a deep-rooted sense of connection, and the conviction that they continue to build on the pioneering efforts of their forefathers. These were the values necessary for survival in a strange land. Yet change is not only inevitable, but a sign of becoming truly established within the context of the larger Canadian community.

The film contrasts turn-of-the-century photographs of Schreiber and the CPR line along the north shore of Lake Superior, with a vivid depiction of a large Italian family and small town life, providing touches of humour and human interest. Whether it's a shot of Pina making fresh bread or of Cosimo belting out folk songs to friends and relatives at the Fallen Rock Motel Bar & Dining Room, there is an enviable sense of cosy intimacy.

Award-winning husband and wife filmmaking team Patricia Fogliato and David Mortin (Enigmatico, Time on Earth) have collaborated on a warm, emotional documentary about Cosimo Figliomeni's family and a very special Canadian town.

Top of Page